2017 Talladega Superspeedway, GEICO 500
Congratulations to Joey Logano who became the seventh different driver to win a race this season when he crossed the finish line at Richmond this last weekend on the 400th lap. This completed a one two finish for Penske Racing with teammate, Brad Keselowski, coming in right behind Logano. Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kevin Harvick complete the top five finishers of last week’s race.
This week the series heads from the short tracks to the longest track on the circuit and the second restrictor plate race of the year. The Talladega Superspeedway is a 2.66-mile tri-oval track that will see speeds in excess of 200 mph during the race. This track also has the potential for the ‘Big One’ to occur because all of the cars will be racing in packs. That means that if one driver has a problem they could take a lot of other cars with them. The smallest mistake by a driver can ruin the day of many drivers and it happens almost every time at these types of races.
Brad Keselowski: I am going to take Brad to win the race this week at Talladega. The Ford’s still seem to have the most speed out of all the models on the track this season and that will help on the long straightaways at this track. That and the fact that the Penske teams always seem to draft well at the restrictor plate tracks makes me like the drivers who are in Ford’s this week.
Joey Logano: Joey won the last two fall races at this track and is the teammate of Brad. He will have a fast car this weekend also and seems to be able to have his car in the right place at the right time on this track. If he and Brad can team up and draft together I think they are going to be tough to beat this weekend. Although they are good in the fall races they seem to struggle a bit in the spring races here and I don’t know why.
Kurt Busch: Kurt is still looking for his first win at this track despite finishing in the top ten here in over half of his thirty-two starts. He won the Daytona 500 this year which tells us that this team should have a car that will draft well once again this weekend. It’s just hard to use the better drivers in this type of race in the Yahoo league when you can only start them nine times during the season and the potential for them to get caught up in the ‘Big One’ is so high.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dale announced that he will be retiring from driving at the end of the season this past week. He leads all active drivers with six wins at Talladega and really needs a win to get on the right track. He has had a lot of issues during races this year and currently sits outside the top twenty in the point standings. This team should have a lot of confidence coming into this weekend’s race with the six wins and sixteen top ten finishes Dale has at this track in his thirty-three starts.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin has one win at this track and the impressive thing is that he has only failed to finish two races here in his thirty-two career starts. I have seen time and again a wreck happening around Kevin and he somehow gets through it without any damage to his car. At first I thought it was all luck, but after seeing it happen so many times I think he just might have some of the best reaction time I have ever seen. I hope I’m not jinxing him now.
Clint Bowyer: Clint has had a pretty good year so far and he always seems to run well at Talladega. He has two wins and twelve top ten finishes in his twenty-two starts at this track. He even had a top ten finish last season in this race running for HScott Motorsports which isn’t a team that is very competitive on the other tracks on the circuit which goes to show you anybody on any team can win the restrictor plate races.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky always seems to run well at the restrictor plate tracks and has four top ten finishes in his seven starts at Talladega. This team has looked very good this season and they have the potential to win the race this weekend. I think Ricky has the patience needed to stay out of trouble early in these races and make his move towards the end to get to the front. I look for him to be pretty quiet early in the race but have a chance to win late.
Matt Kenseth: Matt has one win at this track and has had cars that are capable of winning more races than that. He has led laps in thirteen of his last fourteen starts at this track but it seems like he is always getting caught up in a wreck or having some type of mechanical issue late in these races. He has had a lot of bad luck this season and if he can get the luck to swing to the good side this weekend he will contend for his second win at this track.
Jimmie Johnson: With two wins under their belt already this season, this team can take some chances that will give them track position if they need it. You might see them taking a chance on gas mileage or staying on the track when other drivers pit this weekend. Tires shouldn’t be much of a concern and you will see a lot of two tire stops by all of the teams, so staying out instead of pitting can be a good options here also.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan has only run five races at this track, but he has two top ten finishes. This team has looked good for the most part of the season so far, but they seem to have mechanical issues or Ryan’s patience gets short and he takes chances that he probable shouldn’t take and that gets him in trouble. If he can keep his patience this weekend, I think he will have a shot at the win late in this race.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Brad Keselowski
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Ryan Blaney
- Jamie McMurray
- Trevor Bayne
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Michael McDowell
- Erik Jones
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
- Brad Keselowski
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Joey Logano
- Kurt Busch
- Kevin Harvick
Dark Horse: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stay Away From: Kyle Busch
Big 18: Ryan Blaney